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Deerfield Township man sentenced for shooting a Warren Co. deputy at the door

Posted at 11:21 AM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 21:20:13-04

LEBANON, Ohio — A judge Monday sentenced a Deerfield Township man to a total of 17 years in the attempted murder of a Warren County sheriff’s deputy who was checking on the man’s welfare at the request of his family.

Lance Runion, 57, was scheduled to go to trial today but opted to enter guilty pleas in Warren County Common Pleas Court on Aug. 19 on the first-degree felony charges of attempted aggravated murder with accompanying seven- and three-year firearm specifications; attempted murder with accompanying seven-year and three-year firearm specifications; and felonious assault with accompanying seven-year and five-year firearm specifications.

He received 10 years for the attempted aggravated murder of Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Sara Vaught. He also received seven years for mandatory gun specifications.

The snowy February encounter was captured on a doorbell camera that showed the deputy being shot at as well as returning fire.

Common Pleas Judge Timothy N. Tepe accepted Runion’s guilty pleas and entered findings of guilty to the charges. Runion had previously entered not guilty pleas to the charges in April.

Last month, prosecutors said Runion would be required first to serve a mandatory seven-year prison sentence on the highest firearm specification. After serving that seven-year prison sentence, Runion also must serve a prison sentence on the underlying offenses, and faces a maximum of 11 to 16 ½ year sentence for those (merged) offenses. All told, Runion faces a maximum of 18 to 23 ½ years in prison.

On Feb. 15, Warren County Communications received a 911 call from Runion’s brother and dispatched Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputies to Runion’s residence at 7831 Hunt Club Drive in Deerfield Township.

Deputies knocked on Runion’s front door multiple times, attempting to check on his safety. Ultimately, when Vaught arrived on Runion’s front porch, Runion opened his front door and immediately fired a Ruger LCP 9mm handgun directly at Vaught. Vaught was not struck and returned fire, striking and disabling Runion.

Runion was taken to an area hospital to recover from his wounds and other injuries before being taken into custody in the Warren County Jail.

This story was originally published by WCPO 9 News partner, the Journal-News.